Photographing the Joy of Junior Hockey

I've photographed a lot of junior sporting events, but 7-year-old boys playing hockey is one the best. Our workshop group had an appointment at Snoopy's Home Ice in Santa Rosa, CA. We were looking forward to the shoot, but I don't think any of us anticipated having as much fun as we did.

Going for the Goal

First of all, these kids are good. Skating is hard enough; managing a puck doubles the challenge. But they are also charming photo subjects. The trick is to capture the great shots as they happen.

On the Ice

For the second day in a row, I shot Jpeg instead of Raw. I knew I was going to need long frame sequences to capture the best images. I chose the 70-200 f/2.8 lens for its speed and reach, shooting with it wide open. To get clean color under the artificial lights, we used Expo Discs and the Custom White Balance setting. And finally, I pushed the ISO up to 3200 to provide me with decent shutter speeds.


Sorting these shots was a joy. And when we shared them with each other during the closing presentation of the workshop, everyone had a smile on their face.

More images from this shoot can be seen in the TDS Flickr gallery.

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I love the first shot. Great action, eyes, and puck. Well done!

Thanks Scott. Just like other kid shots, I have to remember to lower my camera position to get a good angle. Glad you like it.

Looks good. Hockey can be tricky to shoot. I only have the 70-200 f/4 which is a bit short of what is needed for indoor hockey so I couldn't quite get high enough shutter speed (using T2i).

For me, the worst part is the glass shields around the rink. There's no good vantage point. Were you on the ice for your shots?

This was a fun shoot. The indoor, poor lighting conditions really made it a challenge, but we had great subjects and a great location. This kind of shooting really demonstrates the value of fast glass. After looking through my photos, I think that if there's one gap in Micro Four Thirds, its the lack of fast zooms, especially on the tele-end. A Micro Four Thirds version of the Olympus 50-200 f2.8-3.5 would really complete my micro four thirds kit.

@Thomas: the rink only has the plexiglass shields behind the goals. For the sidelines, one side has netting, the other just has a low wall. Since it was practice, there were just a few parents here and there, so we could get as close as we wanted on the low-wall side, and shoot through the net without bothering spectators.

I shoot my Grandson's under 6 Rugby games.They are a hoot.I get an email address off the opposition side and send them copies as well.
People cant believe I get the shots on a little epl-1.
Mind you its got a lumix 45-200 on it.
The smile everyone gets on their faces when they see their kids having so much fun - and not a keyboard in site!

As part of our camera club here in Las Vegas we can get press passes to the Las Vegas Wranglers. They are an ECHL team (think AA in baseball terms). They have you stand in one of the 4 corners of the rink. They have a hole in the glass for you to shoot thru. My favorite lens in the 24-70. That lets me the the action at the goal closest to me. To get near center ice you need the 70-200. To get the other end you need a 400. You would also need something similar to the 400 if you get up to concourse level to shoot over the glass.

I love shooting images of the little kids on the ice. They show such great emotion. As the official photographer for Team USA Hockey at the Olympics, I was lucky to capture the best of the best in the sport. But, the little kids are so much cuter!!! :)